How is it that a National Intelligence Estimate on Iran wound up getting released when it was (a) made the administration look ridiculous, (b) pissed off the administration's key pyschotic warmonger allies, and (c) the administration has stated earlier that NIEs weren't going to be released in the future? Well, Pat Lang has some rumor-mongering that aligns perfectly with my armchair speculation:

The "jungle telegraph" in Washington is booming with news of the Iran NIE. I am told that the reason the conclusions of the NIE were released is that it was communicated to the White House that "intelligence career seniors were lined up to go to jail if necessary" if the document's gist were not given to the public. Translation? Someone in that group would have gone to the media "on the record" to disclose its contents.

Did that really happen? Who knows. But it certainly seems to me that this is the correct and honorable way to behave for people who find themselves in possession of important information that's being kept classified for illegitimate reasons. The motives of the "leaker" can always be called into question, but a person willing to take a stand -- or as we may be seeing here, even a person willing to say he or she is willing to take a stand -- publicly and bear the consequences carries a lot more weight.